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Find Exotic Anti-Luxury and a Shaman at Korakia Palm Springs

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  Site Where: 257 South Patencio Rd [map], Palm Springs, CA, United States, 92262
June 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM | by | ()

Korakia’s quiet courtyard and trickling fountain will fool you into thinking you're in a Mediterranean hideaway

Recently in Palm Springs, we wandered off Palm Canyon Drive in the blazing desert sun and found ourselves on the stone path leading into Korakia Pensione. Not the glitzy Riveria, the rugged cool Ace Hotel, or the fanciful Viceroy, Korakia is quietly gorgeous, romantic with a capital “R” and thick with Mediterranean beauty. Scan the Palm Springs hotel scene and it’s unlike anything you’d expect to find in this fabulous, mid-century modern town.

Inside, we spied old photos and a history dating back to Korakia's 1918 Orchard House, though it was 1924 that marks the hotel's real start; that's when Scottish painter Gordon Coutts took up residence and a Tangier-inspired decor in the original Moroccan villa. Celebs and artists followed and often gathered here, including Winston Churchill who is rumored to have painted in the villa’s Artist’s Studio. Later in the 1930s, silent-screen star J. Carol Naish lived in the Mediterranean villa.

Restored and named Korakia in 1989, the hotel is as ornate and authentic as it we imagine it must’ve been nearly a century ago. Moorish-meets-Mediterranean décor, Moroccan fountains, antiques and handmade furniture, dark wood beams and cool stone floors – amazing features throughout paint this pensione a dreamy, historic retreat.

Forget luxury hotels; couldn't you get over thin walls and windows for this?

But authenticity runs deep here and a package deal comes with a bit of anti-luxury. The walls, windows and doors – some are of which are original -- are thin and there are no TVs or phones. If you can get over that and embrace the idea of true peace and quiet, Korakia will capture you and bring you back to a time long gone.

Made up of the two villas and the rooms, bungalows and suites within each, Korakia sits at the base of the San Jacinto mountains and spans 1.5 acres – all of which we could wander ad nauseum. There’s a charming pool, the courtyard where a full-cooked breakfast is served, Moroccan tea service in the afternoon, vintage books in the library, and rooms with deep copper tubs and private outdoor patios. At night, the place is magical with lights hanging from citrus trees, oleander in the breeze, glowing fires and movies projected above an outdoor space complete with Moroccan cushions.

Stay in Korakia's original 1918 Orchard House Adobe and sink into that copper bad boy

New this year, Korakia also offers 3-Night Inner Wisdom Retreat Intensives taught by author and shaman trainer, Ronda LaRue. While we haven’t experienced these spiritual retreats firsthand, there’s something powerful about the idea of experiencing them on Korakia’s tranquil grounds. LaRue focuses on following your own inner wisdom and days include morning meditation, satsang dialogue, visioning arts and direct shaman training and guidance. The next retreat is scheduled for September 24-27 and the cost is $645, not including hotel.

Summer rates at Korakia Pensione currently start at $129 per night; come winter, rates will start at $169.

Photos: Nina Kokotas Hahn

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